Did you know that there are over 200,000 ACL tears reported in the United States every year? As it turns out, an ACL tear is one of the most common injuries the human body can experience. Whether playing sports, doing manual labor, or simply going about your day, an ACL accident can always happen.
Perhaps you have recently experienced an ACL injury, or want to be prepared for one. Either way, an ACL tear is both painful and debilitating. This brief guide will break down how to treat a tear and get back on your feet as soon as you can.
What Is an ACL Tear?
To understand how to navigate treating an ACL tear, we should first understand the injury itself.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the primary ligaments in the knee. It runs diagonally to connect the tibia and femur, controlling the knee’s back and forward motion.
The ACL is most often torn by sudden motions that put unsustainable stress on the ligament. These motions include sudden stopping, changing direction, landing awkwardly from a jump, and direct collision. As such, they are very common in sports and physical activities that require a lot of running and motion.
Upon tearing an ACL, you may notice some key signals such as a popping sound, tenderness, swelling, or loss of full motion at the knee joint.
ACL tears can differ in severity. Grade 1 sprains mean the ligament has been stretched slightly while remaining in place whereas a Grade 2 sprain means the ligament has been stretched loose. A Grade 3 sprain is when there has been a complete tear of the ligament.
How to Treat an ACL Tear
Grade 1 or Grade 2 ACL sprains are most often treated with ice, medication, or knee braces to relieve stress from the knee and allow it to heal. A complete ACL tear, however, requires more intensive medical care.
The ACL is essential to the function of your knee, so you may need to undergo surgery in the event of a Grade sprain or tear. In such a procedure, the damaged ACL will be removed and replaced with a new ligament altogether.
Another beneficial alternative to ACL surgery is stem cell therapy, a process through which stem cells can help your knee’s ligaments regenerate. For a more comprehensive stem cell therapy guide, you can learn more here.
Whether you treat an ACL tear with surgery or stem cell therapy, supplemental health care such as physical therapy will also be needed for a long period to complete the recovery process.
Stay Informed and Prepared for the Worst
An ACL tear is far from the only unexpected accident that can befall us. When we keep our minds engaged, we leave ourselves all the more prepared for when danger strikes.
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